Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 1

A description of Romeís first Christians

Romans 1:6

Paul does not describe Romeís Christians in the way that other people might describe them.

For example, we could describe them by reference to their jobs or their wealth. Probably, many of them were slaves, and therefore the poorest people. That was so in the churches at Corinth (1 Corinthians 7:21) and Ephesus (Ephesians 6:5), for example. It is also likely that some of Romeís Christians were traders (James 4:13). It was possible for a trader to make good profits in Rome (see Revelation 18:11-13). It is unlikely, however, that many Christians there were truly rich (compare Paulís words about Corinthís Christians in 1 Corinthians 1:26).

Romeís Christians might choose to describe themselves by the nations to which they belonged. Many of the Christians there were, like Paul and Christ, Jews (that is, they belonged to Israelís people). However, it is clear from such passages as Romans 11:13 that many of Romeís Christians belonged to other nations.

We see, however that Paul chooses to describe Romeís Christians by their relationship to Christ. First, he says that Christ Ďcalledí them. In other words, Christ invited them to be Godís people, and they accepted. That is the most wonderful change in any personís life (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:9-10).

Then, in verse 7, Paul says that God truly loves them. God loved them even when they were his enemies (5:8). However, now that they are his people, he loves them as his own children (8:14-17; 8:37-39).

Finally, Paul adds that they are holy people. Some translations say Ďsaintsí. All people who have accepted Christís invitation are holy people. To be holy means to be separate for God. Godís people are different from other people because they belong to him (6:22).

Next part: It is important to bless people (Romans 1:7)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.